When is collecting too much of a good thing?
How much is too much?
I’ve always had my weaknesses, those certain items or types of treasures that catch my eye, inspire my explorations of antique stores or used listings. I’m a pretty easy sell when it comes to old wood, any kind of vintage signage, and anything pretty or quirky in red, my favourite colour.
I have started noticing lately what my friends collecting and searching for. Vintage pyrex, anyone? And it makes me wonder – often we are purchasing these items from people who have obsessed and collected them just as we are doing, but have decided to let go. How do we decide when collecting our favourite items becomes too much of a good thing?
I think the difference is in the enjoyment level these items and collections provide in exchange for how much time and space we give to them. We all know people who are storing and hoarding too much, but for each one of those, I have ten friends with a favourite collection or two who are thoroughly enjoying themselves.
If we enjoy what we have, we use it, we display it, we are proud to show it off to others, it’s probably safe territory and not too much. As popular as minimalism may be, most of us take pleasure in our “stuff” and enjoy the hunting and discovery as much as we do owning the items. There’s no harm if we have the money to spend and the room to store.
When should you worry or consider giving up a collection? Think about what you are doing with it, and how much of your home and mental energy it is taking. For every cheery collection of milk glass or vintage china, there is a stack of cardboard boxes languishing in storage full of treasures no longer appreciated. These are the places to look for collections long past their expiry dates. If you don’t look at it, use it, display it or enjoy it anymore – let it go! Consider that it may have been a part of your past and let someone else discover and enjoy it. Unless you have it on reasonably good authority that value on your items will increase, boxes under a bed or in a storage unit are no longer providing enjoyment.
Remember that your energy and time are valuable too. Be sure that your collections still bring you pleasure. If you love to spend a Saturday afternoon on the hunt for one more piece of your favourite dinnerware, you probably aren’t doing any harm. Look for ways to bring these favourite items into your daily life – serve meals from those platters, set out the china for tea with a good friend, and put that antique washstand in your front entry with fresh flowers on top.
Those boxes you haven’t looked in since 2005 are no longer your treasures. Perhaps it’s time to let them be discovered by someone else who will love them as much as you did, and move on to what will make you happy today.
What do you collect? Do you remember when you started collecting? What are you doing with these favourite items?
We’d love to hear from you!
Inspired to sell off your collection? Place an ad and make money off of things you aren’t using.